Diamonds






April 30
Our fifth son is engaged! He bestowed upon me the privilege of coming along on his diamond hunt. Having gathered a few particulars from the girl of his dreams before hand and educating himself about the process online, he had in his mind what he was looking for.
The color, brilliance, size, shape, and visibility of flaws all played a part in what he would finally purchase.  It thrilled my heart to see how seriously he took part of the marriage process.  He scoped and studied close to 20 diamonds at several different stores.  When his mind was made up the elation exuded from him and he could hardly wait for the day he would propose.

The elements involved in a diamond search unfortunately are similar to the elements humans use to judge others...color, brilliance, size, shape and visibility of flaws.  (Now I am feeling sad for the diamonds he didn't choose.)  Oh, that we might be like the Lord and look at a person's heart instead of their outward appearance.

But the Lord said to Samuel, "Do not consider his appearance or his height for I have rejected him.  The Lord does not look at the things people look at.  People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart."  1 Samuel 16:7

A Dynamic Spirit

April 28-29
One of my spiritual mentors sent me a quote the other day that is worth passing along for each of you to realize.....it can be your happy thought for the weekend.
"You are a dynamic spirit
in a beautiful earthly body
empowered by the God of the universe
to encourage and love His people."


So let's be out there about His business this weekend.  Take your tambourine!  :)

Walking Toward ?





Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord; 
but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family.”Jesus replied, 
“No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is 
fit for service in the kingdom of God.”  
Luke 9:61-62

April 27
Grabbing hold of this verse the other day, I pulled it into my soul like some of the big fat robins in our yard tugging at worms in the morning to fed upon.  Am I offering up limitations to the Lord when it comes to my willingness to serve Him where he calls me to serve? What are the "but first" comments I toss out to Him?
When I begin to question moves and decisions we've made in our lives, at what we believed were the Lord's promptings, my husband is quick to say...."Do your not believe the Lord led us to that place?"
While praying together yesterday with a friend, my husband implanted this truth into our prayer time..."Lord, we have learned time and time again that there is often a whole separate dimension to what we are going through, which is intended to bring you glory. Help us to have our eyes and hearts open to see those opportunities and be obedient."

So we enter another day, needing to get over OURSELVES.  Examining closely what we are walking towards. Hopefully, we are getting closer and closer to our Creator, Savior, Redeemer and Friend and seeing the path from His perspective.

When our heads hit our pillows tonight...may we thank God that we have pillows  :)  and be able to say....It was a God day!

Grief is a Grizzly Bear



April 26
While I started yesterday with my tambourine, I should have packed it in my car when I headed to a nearby city to help set up for a baby shower at the home of my precious friend, Kaye, who is now hanging out with Jesus.  Her daughter had a C-section to bring Baby Maxwell into this world.  My girlfriend and I had spoken about having a shower for her daughter and grandson after he was born.  With Kaye no longer here, a team assembled to carry out the plan...her mother, her husband, her sister in law, her cousin and me.  Yesterday, three of us met to go over final details and we went by the house to begin setting up.  Heading into Kaye's bedroom with her mother, she showed me an angel she had placed on the box with Kaye's ashes.  To the left of the box was a yellow frame, with the word "FRIENDS" inscribed and a picture of the two of us.  The same picture sits in my bedroom.  That was the beginning of the grizzle bear grabbing me and tearing my heart apart.  Displayed prominently throughout the house were little gifts or notes I had given my friend.
Puzzled I wondered why I had never noticed this over the years.  I guess I was always going to see my friend, share her heart and not inspect her home. The depth of the hurt was devastating, but I didn't want to let on in front of her mother who longs desperately to be in the presence of her daughter.
Returning home, I placed my head on my kitchen counter and sobbed. Crying out to the Lord I said, "I don't think I realized how much she loved me, Father.  I miss her friendship so much."
"I love you, my child," the Fatherly whisper came.
Then the lesson set in...obviously it gave me great joy to give gifts/notes to my friend.  How often do I write notes to the Lord expressing my love?  Do I get the same joy when I give my tithe and other gifts to Him for his kingdom?

The sun may have set, but the Lord was still working when I crawled into bed and opened my email.  There in the inbox was an email from one of Kaye's daughters. It also went to Kaye's mother.
Check this out!  God is always at work and pouring his love out upon us.

During my quiet time I got these verses of scripture. Really good yet again. Praying it meets you all where you are at. Praying for you each daily. Love you all!
Lamentations 3:20-25 (NLT)

I will never forget this awful time, as I grieve over my loss. Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this: The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning. I say to myself "The Lord is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in him." The Lord is good to those who depend on him, to those who search for him. 

Love you bunches and miss you all.


The Grizzle Bear of Grief got grounded and sent packing!  The Word of God is alive and sharper than any two edged sword!  Makes me want to shake my tambourine!


 Kaye and my husband.
 Ruby, Kaye, Boo & Helen (Kaye's mom)
Kaye's daughter, Blaire (who emailed) and her husband.

You Make Me Feel Like Dancing



April 25
There is a verse which says, "The joy of the Lord is my strength." (Nehemiah 8:10) What a great "U-turn" verse.  When the path we are headed down is fueled by the likes of bitterness, heartache, doubt, fear, or jealousy we can slam on the breaks and make a U-turn right into the love of Jesus.  The joy we find in His presence will strengthen us, heal our hurts, warm our hearts and remind us how blessed we are to be loved by our Creator....which in turn will...make us feel like dancing!


Tuning in to a teaching on Moses' sister Miriam, I realized I need to up the ante of expectancy when it comes to reasons to rejoice.  The commentator made reference to the fact that when the Israelites made a hasty exit from Egypt, Miriam took time to pack her tambourine.  I've often thought of what I would grab in the case of a fire and my tambourine (yes, I have one) is not on the list.  Miriam grabbed her tambourine because she knew there would come a time when God would give them reason to dance and praise Him for his provision.


My tambourine is pretty tacky nowadays.  I think a new one, maybe even with streamers hanging down will be my Mother's Day gift to myself.  (I wanted the new Ipad, but a tambourine on the kitchen table may be more appropriate.)


Wherever you are, jump up right now...clap your hands in the air...and praise the Lord, pretending you are shaking your tambourine!  :)


You make me feel like dancing Lord, simply because YOU ARE!


I am God, the God of your father.  Genesis 46:3

"We're not all going to die!"

April 24
But let me tell you something wonderful, a mystery I'll probably never fully understand. We're not all going to die—but we are all going to be changed. You hear a blast to end all blasts from a trumpet, and in the time that you look up and blink your eyes—it's over. On signal from that trumpet from heaven, the dead will be up and out of their graves, beyond the reach of death, never to die again. At the same moment and in the same way, we'll all be changed. In the resurrection scheme of things, this has to happen: everything perishable taken off the shelves and replaced by the imperishable, this mortal replaced by the immortal. Then the saying will come true:


   Death swallowed by triumphant Life!
   Who got the last word, oh, Death?
   Oh, Death, who's afraid of you now?
It was sin that made death so frightening and law-code guilt that gave sin its leverage, its destructive power. But now in a single victorious stroke of Life, all three—sin, guilt, death—are gone, the gift of our Master, Jesus Christ. Thank God!
With all this going for us, my dear, dear friends, stand your ground. And don't hold back. Throw yourselves into the work of the Master, confident that nothing you do for him is a waste of time or effort.  1 Corinthians 15:51-58

Studying this passage in The Message translation the other day I got so fired up when I read the phrase...
"We're not all going to die!" (No, this is not an entry on the 100th anniversary of the Titanic.)
"A single victorious stroke of Life....the gift of our Master, Jesus Christ" is a quote that brings  out a hallelujah as well.
The meat of the matter for me though was the challenge...what am I called to do with the truth which has changed my life? With the gift of hope of seeing Jesus and the peace that a life everlasting brings.  The passage says, so this:  "Throw yourselves into the work of the Master, confident that nothing you do for him is a waste of time or effort."


May our heads not hit a pillow at night without having turned an ear to Jesus and left a bread crumb on this earth, which might lead another to Christ.

Little Ones


April 23
People were bringing little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them. Mark 10:13


Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these. Matthew 19:14

“Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me.” Mark 9:37

If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. Matthew 18:6


Christ made some strong comments about the importance of keeping a clear path for children to get to him.  Let's join together in praying for the vitality of Sunday Schools, Vacation Bible School, Church Pre-Schools, Christian Schools and ministries such as Good News Clubs and Child Evangelism Fellowship who are committed to taking the truth of the gospel to little ones.


The other day I met a cute chubby fellow and I whispered in his ear, "Jesus loves you."  As I walked away I prayed that as he grew he would remember that phrase and be taught the ways of Christ.
I had my camera with me and took his picture.



Doorways


April 20-22
"Here I am!  I stand at the door and knock.  If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me."  Revelation 3:20

Our grandchildren love looking out doors.  I wonder what they are anticipating?  ...the arrival of someone or a peek at one of God's creatures maybe?

Are we anticipating an encounter with Christ today?  Are we watching for where we can proclaim his love to another?

"And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may have proclaimed the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains." Colossians 4:3



Different Perspectives

April 19
Life teaches us lesson after lesson. Sometimes we are right in the action and other times, as if observing a medical procedure from behind a glass window, we view a process from the perimeter.
God came to earth in human form, as Christ, to experience in the flesh the walk we must walk and to be a visible example how to live.

There is great benefit in us being willing to place ourselves (at least mentally) in another's shoes and survey situations from their prospective. The fall out in relationships would be far less if we chose to do this more often.

I was hungry and you fed me,
I was thirsty and you gave me a drink,
I was homeless and you gave me a room,
I was shivering and you gave me clothes,
I was sick and you stopped to visit,
I was in prison and you came to me.
Matthew 25:35-36

Who is God calling us to love on from a different perspective today?
The Hungry
The Thirsty

The Homeless
The Naked and Shivering
The Sick who need cheering.

Those in Prison

We have so much and are quick to forget the needs of so many.

I Don't Want to Be God

April 17-18
Children say the smartest things! Struggling a bit with our three year old grandson the other night about bedtime, I posed a question to him. "If you were God would you require our bodies to need sleep?" The rapid reply without hesitation: "I don't want to be God!"

So today if we are questioning the "whys" in life we can ask ourselves....Would I want to trade places with God?

May they sing of the ways of the LORD, for the glory of the LORD is great. Psalm 138:5

Traveling in the car with a couple grands, one got a little fussy so I just began singing praise...that one quieted and another one put his hands up in the air praising the Lord.
Oh that we would learn from little ones!
Praise the LORD. How good it is to sing praises to our God, how pleasant and fitting to praise him! Psalm 147:1



April 16
As your planting season begins and things start to sprout, be certain your faith is growing too.


The Change


April 13-15
In a week our trees have gone from bare branches to being adorned with lacy little green leaves announcing the change from winter to spring. The change of the seasons brings such delight.

"I've got to change him." (Mom, related to diapers.)
"I've got to change him." (New bride, related to her groom.)
"I've got to change." (Out of a piece of clothing.)
"I've got to change." (Someone with an undesirable life style, attitude or addiction.)
"I'm going through the change." (Menopausal woman.)
"Could I please have change." (Related to money.)

Ah, the English language...it can be tough to discern. Just ask Ziva on NCIS. When a word like that is placed on my mind I am oh so quick to try to figure out what the Lord is up to. I am never right in my assumptions, for my mind is not like His mind.
Change is uncomfortable for many people, but for us to become heavenly beings it will be necessary. For us to become what God intended us to be as earthly beings, there is most likely a little tweaking to occur!
And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 18:3

Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 1 Corinthians 15:51-52

How will we react to change today?
What needs to change in our own lives?

Lord, we come to say we love you. Nip, tuck, take away those attitudes, addictions, accusations that keep our lights from shining the love of Christ out onto a lost world. In Jesus' Name, Amen

4/12



April 12th
One of our grandsons is celebrating his first birthday today, so I decided to look up some scriptures related to the date of his birth ( 4/12) and type those up for him.

Here we go:

When you walk, your steps will not be hampered; when you run, you will not stumble. Proverbs 4:12
Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved. Acts 4:12

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. Philippians 4:12

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Hebrews 4:12

No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. 1 John 4:12

As we pour love into others, maybe we be certain to pour the Word of God in as well.!

The Sleigh Ride

April 11th
Our 28 year old god daughter has been diagnosed with breast cancer and is awaiting surgery on April 18th. The news is heart breaking, but her attitude and that of her parents is full of strength and grace. The reality of what is ahead has me praying without ceasing.
While doing just that this morning, I told her mother I had the image of sledding adventures with our young children and pulling them through the snow to the top of the hill. The load was a lot, but it was worth the joy of the downhill slide. We look forward to her beating this cancer!
Reflecting back to when we almost lost our son in a car accident I recalled:
There were hard days that seemed like we would never make it the long way to the top of the hill. Then eventually there were days of rejoicing and enjoying the down hill slide. As the months moved on and he improved there were snowball fights from the awkwardness of a college male having to live at home with his momma! In the end our relationship was redefined, for we had walked through the shadows of death together.

Some days it is nice to know you are loved.
Some days it is nice to know you are being prayed for.
Some days it is nice to know God’s eye is on the sparrow and it is on each of our children as well.
  1. The LORD is in his holy temple; the LORD is on his heavenly throne. He observes everyone on earth; his eyes examine them. Psalm 11:4
  2. But the eyes of the LORD are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love. Psalm 33:18

Chasing Woodpeckers


April 10
The numbers 7:22 glowed on my alarm clock, as the peck, peck, peck sounded on the side of our porch. Running to the window and cranking it open, I totally ignored our sleeping bulldog a foot away. He could have gone into cardiac arrest at his age as I called out "What are you doing!" to the woodpecker. The bird flew away and perched himself on the other side of the porch and continued his pecking. The bulldog, with eyes glazed and full of morning gook stared at me in disbelief. Off I ran to another window and thus began another morning...chasing woodpeckers!

Stopping in my tracks I knew there was a lesson in this madness. My notebook contained a two references yesterday from where I had been studying in Corinthians.

You realize, don't you, that you are the temple of God, and God himself is present in you? No one will get by with vandalizing God's temple, you can be sure of that. 1 Corinthians 3:16

Do I have as much concern about the things vandalizing my life as I do concern for the welfare of our house?

In reference to the sin going on around us 1 Corinthians 5:2, 6 says:
And you're so above it all that it doesn't even faze you! Shouldn't this break your hearts? Shouldn't it bring you to your knees in tears?...Your flip and callous arrogance in these things bothers me. You pass it off as a small thing, but it's anything but that. Yeast, too is a "small thing," but it works its way through a whole bunch of bread dough pretty fast.

My morning prayers turned to cries for purity, holiness and to change my thoughts to be like Jesus'. When sin and temptation taunt me Lord help me to be quick to reply "What are you doing!" you do not belong in God's temple. Be gone!


Note Writing

I kept more than I tossed.

April 9
Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days. Psalm 90:14
Note writing is a priceless art that warms the heart.
Shake, shake, shake...shake, shake, shake....shake the pollen off, shake the pollen off. Spring cleaning can be a trip. My husband's allergies were at their height, so I suggested we switch gears from outdoor cleaning and tackle some indoor projects.
Drawers were the category I drew! Three of the ones facing me were filled with cards from friends and family over the years. I've saved them for years and when I am feeling blue it is an excellent way to "feel the love". Some of the nicest ones are from people who have been in our home, whom we can no longer even place in our memories.
Once again our spousal personality differences appeared as I wanted to consume every word of every note and reminisce of what that person meant to my life. His was a more rapid approach...toss, toss. Somewhere in the process, which was taking me hours, I realized the same warmth and satisfaction these notes were bringing is available in the Bible.
Paul wrote so eloquently in Colossians chapter 1:

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, To God’s holy people in Colossae, the faithful brothers and sisters in Christ: Grace and peace to you from God our Father.

We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all God’s people— the faith and love that spring from the hope stored up for you in heaven and about which you have already heard in the true message of the gospel that has come to you. In the same way, the gospel is bearing fruit and growing throughout the whole world—just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and truly understood God’s grace. You learned it from Epaphras, our dear fellow servant, who is a faithful minister of Christ on our behalf, and who also told us of your love in the Spirit.

For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

Long live the art of note writing!

Teach it to your children, but also share with them the treasured loved letters in God's word.

Easter-The Stone was Rolled Away



April 7-8
Over and over this morning the phrase, "The stone was rolled away" has been playing in my head.

When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so they could embalm him. Very early on Sunday morning, as the sun rose, they went to the tomb. They worried out loud to each other, "Who will roll back the stone from the tomb for us?" Then they looked up, saw that it had been rolled back—it was a huge stone—and walked right in. They saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed all in white. They were completely taken aback, astonished. He said, "Don't be afraid. I know you're looking for Jesus the Nazarene, the One they nailed on the cross. He's been raised up; he's here no longer. Mark 16:1-6

What needs to be rolled out of the way in our own lives to allow the living Christ to come in?

For days a small blue bird has been trying over and over again to get in our house. He/she flies right up to the windows and taps, taps. I had a chat with this creature yesterday and said, "Who are you looking for little one?"

Let's pray this Easter weekend for those who tap from the outside and take a peak at Jesus, but have something blocking the way from letting him in and having total control.

Holy Week, Scene 5-Underestimating

April 5
Well, this certainly wasn't what I was expecting for a Good Friday message, but I was so moved by this video I thought it worth sharing. Actually, the message it portrays correlates well with how the world saw Jesus.

The world was looking for the Messiah to come as a strong, charismatic, political leader. Instead, our King was born in a manger, was humble with a servant's heart and many a night had no place to even lay his head.
No chariot carried him around, fine fabrics did not drape his body or fabulous jewels drip from his neck. He was underestimated by many, for he did not look the part of the long awaited king.
Check this out.

A Texas pastor showed this video at his worship service and addressed the congregation afterwards saying:

"I LOVE his loyalty to his friend. I LOVE the fact that he has no idea how good he is. I LOVE the fact that he doesn't 'look' the part. I LOVE the fact that he was underestimated for that reason. I LOVE the fact that he is humble and honest. I LOVE his voice. I LOVE the fact that he has actually taken the time to train his voice classically. I LOVE the audience reaction."

Whose life might be changed by the touch of our encouragement.
Who in our life never needs to lack confidence in our loyalty?
Who might we be underestimating?

Holy Week, Scene 4-Spiritual Separation

Garden of Gethsemane
April 5
Out of no where, grief jumped up and bit yesterday morning. Thinking I was doing so well over the loss of my friend, I was rather shocked when the reality of our separation (for now) left me bawling and longing for her. Close friends are such a treasure.
No sun is shining right now. There is moisture in the air and the winds are whipping up on the Lake this morning. Pink and white dogwoods are dancing together and the neighbor's azaleas are a sassy hot pink. Our woods are a wonderful place of retreat and as I looked out to them I thought of the Mount of Olives, a favorite place of retreating for Jesus and his close friends.
In the darkness on the evening of his betrayal Jesus had one request for the disciples and that was for them to pray for him. Jesus knew hard times were at hand and he was disappointed when they fell asleep.

When he rose from prayer and went back to the disciples, he found them asleep, exhausted from sorrow. “Why are you sleeping?” he asked them. “Get up and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.” Luke 22:45-46

Listening to Nancy Leigh DeMoss online she shared, "You can have every other good gift on the face of the earth but if you're not near to God you're miserable."

She went on to quote Jesus' cry of anguish, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" She expressed that the most excruciating pain Jesus endured was spiritual separation from His Father.

A great praise we can have this Easter weekend is that while the reality of earthy sorrows and separations exist and disappointments occur, because of Christ's sacrifice, we do not have to be separated from God! He has promised he will NEVER leave us or forsake us!

That makes me feel like dancin!



Holy Week, Scene 3, The Ear

April 4
Are you kidding me? This is my son's ear which was almost sliced off this past weekend. Sorry so gross, but pretty ironic as I am studying the events leading up to the crucifixion. Wait until you see the repair picture, where a doctor friend literally glued it back together. Oh, you are asking what was he doing...no, this is not the Army child...this one was building a fire pit in his backyard. He was alone and trying to place a heavy metal liner into the pit. He decided the best technique was to lift the ring over his head and lower it down...it was too heavy though and he lost control of it when it was over his head and sliced his ear on the way down. He said he is so thankful he didn't lose the whole ear.
There was an ear slicing event the last week of Jesus' life. Doctor Luke leaves this reflection:
While he was still speaking a crowd came up, and the man who was called Judas, one of the Twelve, was leading them. He approached Jesus to kiss him,but Jesus asked him,“Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?” When Jesus’ followers saw what was going to happen, they said, “Lord, should we strike with our swords?” And one of them struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his right ear. But Jesus answered, “No more of this!” And he touched the man’s ear and healed him. Luke 22:47-51
The Message puts it this way:
When those with him saw what was happening, they said, "Master, shall we fight?" One of them took a swing at the Chief Priest's servant and cut off his right ear.

Jesus said, "Let them be. Even in this." Then, touching the servant's ear, he healed him.

Life presents us all with altercations where we want to fight, but Jesus' "Let them be" attitude and prayers that healing will occur are significant counsel for us all to consider!

Accepting help from one another (especially when building fire pits) is a wise idea too! :)

Holy Week, Scene 2 Betrayal

April 2
Danielle Steel was on one of the morning news shows promoting her new novel, Betrayal,which came out last week. During the interview she shared that she felt we all have experienced betrayal in some form....in a romance, with a business partner or employer, by a friend or family member,
being robbed or having our privacy invaded... She stressed that from personal experience she recognized the importance of finding a way to let the bitterness go. Interestingly, her first suggestion was religion. Her father was German Jewish and her mother Portuguese. She was raised Catholic.

What perfect timing for such a title to be released, as Christians are reflecting on Judas' betrayal of Christ.
And while they were eating, he said, “Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me.” Mt.26:21

So where is Judas now? Here are some deep thoughts. They run along the lines of the fact that Satan knows who Jesus is, yet he refuses to call him Lord, Lord.

This is the scripturally based response from Got Questions.org:
Even after his dreadful deed, Judas could have fallen on his knees to beg God’s forgiveness. But he did not. He may have felt some remorse born of fear, which caused him to return the money to the Pharisees, but he never repented, preferring instead to commit suicide, the ultimate act of selfishness (Matthew 27:5-8).

In John 17:12; Jesus prays concerning His disciples, “While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled.” At one time, though, Judas believed that Jesus was a prophet, or possibly even believed He was the Messiah. Jesus sent the disciples out to proclaim the gospel and perform miracles (Luke 9:1-6). Judas was included in this group. Judas had faith, but it was not a true saving faith. Judas was never “saved,” but for a time he was a follower of Christ.

Holy Week



April 2
At first I thought I'd opt out of this week, saying I need a break. The truth is I don't like the meanness and manipulation, which occur the week before the resurrection. From Judas' betrayal, to Pilate caving in, Peter's three denials and the soldiers mocking Christ, the enormous heartache of Christ's mother and John nearby as Jesus is crucified is too much to comprehend for this mother's heart, then add to that the images that arise when I think of the physical sufferings he endured and I always end asking God...."Wasn't there a less violent, easier way?" This comes from someone who would have hidden her dove or lamb so her Daddy couldn't have taken them to be sacrificed.
Sacrifice, that is what a life with Christ is all about.

Today I want to reflect on John chapter 12 and the exhibition of "extravagant love" by a single woman, Mary of Bethany.
Six days before Passover, Jesus entered Bethany where Lazarus, so recently raised from the dead, was living. Lazarus and his sisters invited Jesus to dinner at their home. Martha served. Lazarus was one of those sitting at the table with them. Mary came in with a jar of very expensive aromatic oils, anointed and massaged Jesus' feet, and then wiped them with her hair. The fragrance of the oils filled the house.

Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples, even then getting ready to betray him, said, "Why wasn't this oil sold and the money given to the poor? It would have easily brought three hundred silver pieces." He said this not because he cared two cents about the poor but because he was a thief. He was in charge of their common funds, but also embezzled them.

Jesus said, "Let her alone. She's anticipating and honoring the day of my burial. You always have the poor with you. You don't always have me."

A woman breaks an alabaster jar of expensive perfume and pours it on Jesus' head. To some these actions seemed foolish and wasteful, but Jesus saw it as a sacrificial outpouring of her love. She loved this man and knew how fulfilling his love was.

Let's do something different this week and and honor a single woman. Whether they are single by destiny, choice, divorce or death they are valuable to the Lord. Her life may not be romantic, but she has a role to play and Christ's love is sustaining her. I am so excited. I am going to invite a single woman to go shopping with me. I will share this story with her and buy her a bottle of perfume and thank her for the sacrifices she makes for so many!

The most valuable sacrifice we can make for Christ is that of pouring ourselves out for him to others.